LIVING HISTORY by Chaim Herzog

LIVING HISTORY

A Memoir
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KIRKUS REVIEW

 A straightforward if somewhat idealistic account of the history of modern Israel, especially as it intersects with the personal history of one of its foremost statesmen. Herzog, former president of Israel and author of several books about Israel and military affairs (Heroes of Israel: Profiles of Jewish Courage, 1989, etc.), recounts highlights of his public life while offering insights and personal musings on the history of the state of Israel. Born into a respected rabbinical family in Ireland and educated at the Universities of London and Cambridge, Herzog migrated to Israel in 1935, when his father was elected chief rabbi of Palestine. We follow his career of public service from army general to director of military intelligence, from first military governor of the West Bank to Israel's ambassador to the UN. Throughout his career he was guided by the principle that Israel's mission was not just to survive, but to serve as a much needed model of morality. After the Six-Day War, Herzog recalls, Jerusalem mayor Teddy Kollek stormed into his office, insisting that milk be immediately distributed to the Arab children in East Jerusalem. Herzog insists that the Arabs repeatedly missed opportunities for peace because of their inflexibility and pride. However, he does see a new Middle East emerging. Despite the recent election of Likud's Benjamin Netanyahu as prime minister, Herzog believes that peace is on the horizon. Arafat, he writes, has gone ``from hostility to partnership in a working relationship, one of the more astonishing relationship shifts in history.'' If Arafat proves able to contain terrorism, ``the Palestinian problem can be solved by the end of the century.'' Herzog's passionate asides on such matters as the insidious racism of the late rabbi Meir Kahane, and the harsh sentence given to Jonathan Pollard, convicted of spying for Israel in America, make this ``living history'' a lively one. (16 pages b&w photos, not seen) (Author tour)

Pub Date: Nov. 6th, 1996
ISBN: 0-679-43478-X
Page count: 464pp
Publisher: Pantheon
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15th, 1996